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Review: Suzanne Vega, The Close Up Tour Grand Opera House, York
NEW York folk-pop waif Suzanne Vega has never forgotten her previous York gig in 1996: her bass player was beaten up by a tourist who had climbed on to the wrong bus and in a separate incident Suzanne was confronted by a schizophrenic.
Wednesday night was a more sedate affair, as she recalled those brushes with mortality with a dry wit that leavened the somewhat academic air at 52 that goes with her trademark jacket, black jeans and scarf look.
Suzanne, on acoustic guitar, was accompanied by electric guitarist Gerry Leonard, who stayed in the background. Suzanne herself did not step too far forward, despite the Close Up title, save when breaking into a dance at the stage apron for Tom’s Diner.
“Close Up” relates to her series of four thematic albums – the fourth is being delayed until September – that revisits her back catalogue. She’s still writing songs, however, and a new studio set is in the pipeline next year.
And so Suzanne complemented the opening Marlene On The Wall – sung in top hat in tribute to Dietrich – and the typically “sad, long ballad” The Queen And The Soldier with two picks from her off-Broadway musical acting role in Carson McCullers Talks About Love and her one-off liaison with Sparklehorse, The Man Who Played God.
Unlike the hat, this show never quite took off, being polite, intelligent but withdrawn.